Today, October 19th, Peru celebrates the national day of the anticucho, one of the banner dishes of Peru and one that symbolizes it like its national flag. Most every one eats anticuchos. They are skewers of meat that are seasoned and grilled, and served with boiled potatoes and a spicy sauce of aji, our hot peppers.
Anticuchos are prepared in all the cities of Peru though every city has its own way of making them and serving them.
In the city of Cusco, these delicious are made up every day. There are various people dedicated to making up these meats on skewers, thin strips of cane. You can find them on many street corners in our city.
When the sun starts going down, the smoke from coals of carbonized wood in portable grills makes its presence known. Dark comes and in many part of the city you smell the perfume of smoke as the vendors take the time to heat up the coals and their grill to cook their anticuchos to perfection.
There are various kinds of anticuchos that are made. You can find them from beef heart, chicken, hot dog, beef and even mixed. Before cooking the meats go through a process of being seasoned and allowed to rest in order to excite the taste buds of the consumers.
The vendors have a rustic brush that they make from corn husks with which they brush seasoning on the cooking meat every certain amount of time to increase even more their flavor and, as a result, making the smoke deeply flavorful.
They choose their potatoes carefully, what in Spanish we call harinosas, floury, to accompany the anticuchos. They do this so that when they boil them they do not fall apart and are still be whole when served.
Our aji, our hot sauce, is indispensable. All the vendors have a large bowl of it, fresh made, by the side of their grill. Clients love to put it on their anticuchos and potatoes to just give them that added touch of piquancy and spiciness.
On this day when Peru celebrates its anticuchos, how many of these wonders can you eat?